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Hodl 2021: India’s First Crypto Conference Discusses Regulations

The Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC) of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has organized HODL 2021, a conference for India’s Crypto Industry.

BACC, under the aegis of the Fintech Convergence Council (FCG) of the IAMAI, represents the crypto industry in India and has been supporting the crypto industry since 2017.

About HODL 2021

HODL is India’s first-ever crypto-asset conference organized by the BACC of IAMAI, which focuses on making crypto-assets safe for investors and for a regulated and orderly growth of the industry.

This year marks the first edition of the summit.

The speaker line-up features various Indian and international Policy Makers, Industry Experts, Investors, Financial Institutions, and Start-ups who will be up for panel discussions to discuss both the domestic and international perspectives.

It is a 2-day event running from September 7 to September 8 with over 2000 attendees from 20 countries.

The conference was flagged off by Mr. Naveen Surya, Advisory Board Member of BACC and Chairman of the FCG.

The first day mostly concentrated on the regulatory scenario of crypto assets in India.

In the inaugural session the esteemed former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India, Mr. R Gandhi was present along with industry stalwarts who discussed India’s Crypto Ecosystem.

He said, “Crypto needs to be treated as a foreign asset and should be taxed on the basis of its payment channels.”

Regulations and the burgeoning market in India

There were many panels discussing different facets of regulations.

From the Indian perspective, Mr. R Gandhi as a former regulator spelled out his stance.

“On entry in a citizen’s hand, crypto should be deemed as a foreign asset. It should be paid through normal channels when it is bought otherwise it will be deemed as mined and capital gained and taxed heavily. This will be a voluntary disclosure. Then if it is proved mined, capital gained and taxed is likely. It should be fully tracked through depository or repository of information about that. Then exchanges can facilitate trade – buy and sell – and settle payment and received. This should be on DVP basis i.e., Delivered vs Payment rather than Payment vs Payment. In this fashion the exchanges can be regulated by SEBI”

Mr. R Gandhi

Mr. Ashish Singhal, founder & CEO, CoinSwitch, said, “The keenness shown by Indian investors towards alternative investments and alternative asset classes makes us optimistic that the country’s retail investors are ready for a fast adoption of cryptocurrency as an emerging asset class.”

A similar view was echoed by Mr. Avinash Shekhar, Co-CEO ZebPay, who said that India is poised to become a digital asset superpower as even retail investors for investing in digital assets.

Discussion on Regulations from a Global Perspective

A different panel discussed global strategy and framework saw participation from Ms. Sian Jones, former Senior Advisor on (Distributed Ledger Technology) DLT to Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, and Neeraj Khandelwal, Co-founder of CoinDCX.

Currently, each country in Europe has a different understanding of crypto assets. She opined European Union might take at least 2-3 years to have a uniform law throughout the region.

Quoting her experience as a former regulator, she claimed that regulators want to embrace innovation, but they have a fear of plans going awry putting them in a dilemma.

Mr. Khandelwal believes mass adoption of crypto can convince governments throughout the world to take steps towards regulation as it also bolsters regulators’ confidence assuring them that people are ready for and understand crypto assets.

Jones also emphasized that to regulate crypto, lawmakers have to be ‘technologically neutral’. They have to see it from a different lens. Laws governing and regulating “similar but different” industries should not be applied to digital assets.

Day 2 of HODL will mostly witness talks on DeFi and Entrepreneurship in the industry.

Innovation usually precedes regulation. A smooth dialogue between the government and innovators can result in favorable regulations for everyone. Conferences or other events provide a platform for such discussions.

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